Flores & Pine Spruces Up Bears Paw

Flores & PineThere’s a newcomer to the dining scene in Bears Paw. One so good that downtownies may flock to the burbs in their constant foodie fervour. Once they try it, they’ll return. It’s that good. Many who mourned the closing of the Bear’s Den will recognize the reimagined location. The grand-scale Flores & Pine Grillroom and Gatherings (this full name is just the first of many mouthfuls) has many elements, that will take a time investment to describe. However, after an ineffable experience here, I’ll attempt to match their epicurean abundance in this epically long post. Ready? Let’s roll!IMG_8855A lofty lounge welcomes you into Flores & Pine, which is named for Flores LaDue, ‘First Lady of the Calgary Stampede’, the wife of Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick and a skilled roper and performer. Have a Queen B cocktail in her honor. Made with honey from the restaurant’s own hives.Flores & PineStep into the restaurant section and you’ll most likely find it bustling. It’s been busy since it opened this summer.IMG_8866If you can’t get a table, there are still several options, including this dining bar along the kitchen…Flores & Pine… and the heated patio, which also boasts a beautiful bug screen. Can you see it? It’s just beyond the table, before the couch area.

Flores & PineBut wait, that’s not all! There’s still the “Gatherings” element to consider. Flores & Pine has an event space ready and waiting for your next party. A wood-burning fireplace keeps the large area cozy. They’ve already hosted several weddings.

Flores & PineCould it be because there is a room upstairs dedicated to bridal hangout?Flores & PineWith a loo and a door large enough for the poufiest gown. I had to put down my Queen B and revisit my dreams of a destination wedding for a moment.

Flores & PineBut then, it was time for the task at hand: eating! On this particular evening, I was invited to a media event to introduce us city-types to this gourmet jewel of the Northwest. Of course I was thrilled to see my seat was perfectly positioned for charcuterie access.

The meal service began with a decadent approach to the Caesar salad. Just look at that bacon and try to resist.

The F&P Signature Salad is another delicious green option.

And, just in case you have special dietary requirements, Flores and Pine has a dedicated Vegan menu. And a Gluten-Free menu. None of the usual hunting for the asterisks in the regular menu.

But if you’re a committed carnivore like myself, you have many options. Starting with a perfectly medium rare rack of lamb.

The massive Tomahawk Board features dry aged Benchmark black angus, along with oodles of oven-roasted honey-glazed root vegetables. Plus fries, topped with a fried egg — just to balance out the healthy veggies.

Here’s a closer look at those house-cut fries, this time in full Poutine mode. But don’t go looking for average frites and curds. These are basted in brown butter sauce… and topped with king crab.

King Crab isn’t limited to the poutine. You can also have it as an entree, fresh from the wood-fired grill.

These perogies are a highlight of the Shareables section on the menu. Served with smoked prairie bison meatballs.

Who’s behind the new, all-encompassing dining experience in the old Bear’s Den location? The always-in-motion tech savant Mahyar Khosravi and Kristin Romeril (not pictured). A local Bears Paw resident and faithful foodie, Mahyar was motivated to make the journey to fine dining closer than downtown Calgary.

Finally, after all this food, why stop now? Try not one, but two of my favorite desserts. The Copetta tops layers of salted caramel mousse and cashew praline with homemade marshmallows.

The Chocolate Torte’s flour-free recipe with fresh berries and Chantilly cream might not make it guilt-free, but they do make this dessert absolutely divine.

Even an epic evening of eating must an end at some point. As I bid adieu to the original Bear’s Den bear, still on the wall in the special event room, I made plans to return soon. Thank you Flores & Pine for an impeccable experience!

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